Q:

How effective are glaucoma laser treatments?

A:

Quick Answer

Laser eye surgery is a very effective treatment option for glaucoma patients, although long-term success rates are variable, as stated by The Glaucoma Foundation. Success of treatment depends on the individual patient's response to surgery and the type of laser surgery used.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, there are four types of laser surgery for glaucoma: argon laser trabeculoplasty, selective laser trabeculoplasty, laser peripheral iridotomy and cycloablation, according to The Glaucoma Foundation.

Argon laser trabeculoplasty has been shown to reduce eye pressure in 75 percent of those with glaucoma after the first surgery. This particular surgery can only be done two or three times before scarring makes it impossible to continue with laser treatments. Each successive laser surgery after the first one may be slightly less effective. Selective laser trabeculoplasty surgery is a newer technique that provides the same results or better in the number of those with reduced eye pressure. This surgery can be used repeatedly, and on patients who have previously undergone laser treatment, as stated by WebMD.

Laser peripheral iridotomy is a more invasive laser surgery that bypasses the normal drainage of the inner eye through blocked passages by making a small opening in the iris. This opening is visible, but it is preferred by doctors for wide-angle glaucoma with pupillary blockage. Cycloablation is one of the last options for patients that didn't see results with previous surgeries. It uses two laser techniques to destroy part of the cillary body inside the eye, reducing eye pressure.

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